Major Prophets: The Book of Isaiah

Have you heard the term major prophets? It refers to the group of books in Old Testament. First of them is the Book of Isaiah. In the article, we are going to take a closer look at a book and its author prophet Isaiah.

Major prophets The book of Isaiah

Who Authored the book?

Similar to most of the books of “the prophets,” the book of Isaiah takes its name from its author Isaiah; He was married to a prophetess who bore him at two sons, this account can be seen in the book Isaiah 7:3; 8:3. He (Prophet Isaiah) prophesied under the reign of four (4) Judean kings namely Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. According to records, he met his death under the fifth (5) rulers, the evil King Manasseh.

Early Christian tradition in the second century identified Prophet Isaiah as one of the prophets whose death is described in the book of Hebrews 11:37, he was the prophet who was “sawn in two equal parts.”1 Isaiah likely lived in Jerusalem, given the book’s concern with the city (Isaiah 1:1) and his proximity to at least two significant kings during the period of his prophecy (Isaiah. 7:3; 38:1).

The message of The book of Isaiah

Raffaello,_Prophet Isaiah
Raffaello, Prophet Isaiah

The Book of Isaiah stands out as one of the most important books of the Old Testament. Though little is known about the personal life of the prophet Isaiah, he is considered to be one of the greatest men that ever walked the face of the earth.

The book of Isaiah is a collection of oracles, prophecies, and reports; but the major theme of the book is the message of salvation to mankind. There was a time, according to these writings, a state of hopelessness in anything that was made by the people, the kingdom of Israel had been taken into captivity during (722 B.C.), and the kingdom of Judah was in the brink of idolatry and evil.

The kingdom of Assyria had completely dominated the fertile areas and posed as a major threat to both kingdoms; on the other hand, the kingdom of Babylon was gaining power and fame and would soon replace Assyria as the dominant threat. In view of the reality of the fast-changing situations, the people of Israel would be concerned about their lot in life—what would become of the promises of God towards them?

How could the chosen people of God survive, and regain their place as God’s chosen people? And must the remnant of the righteous also suffer and perish with the nation that has been predominantly pagan?

The purging and cleansing of the nation

Book_of_IsaiahThere would be an imminent and cleansing and purging of the nation because God is a holy God. Before the nation could appropriate and inherit the promises made to their fathers, it would and must be made holy and purified. So God would use the pagan nations as an instrument to chasten and punish Israel for its sins and cleanse it from her iniquity.

And even though the judgment of the captivity was meant to punish sin and destroy the wicked unbelievers, the total removal of sin would ultimately be the work of the Servant of the LORD, the promised Messiah. In the process of the cleansing and purification of the people, God would establish the golden age which is a time of peace and prosperity that the world has never seen. The holy God would make the remnant holy, then He would use them to govern the nations rather than other nations disciplining and ruling over them (Israel)

The message of the salvation

The message of salvation was propagated by the prophet Isaiah, the name Isaiah means “salvation of Yahweh,” or “Yah saves.” He was the son of Amoz; according to history, he was related to the royal family, perhaps King Manasseh, whom it was believed sawn Isaiah asunder (Heb. 11:37).

As mentioned earlier, Isaiah prophesied in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, and also outlived Hezekiah into the reign of Evil King Manasseh. He was believed to be 70 or 80 years at the time of his death (680 B.C.) putting his Ministry to have lasted for at least 60 years in an effort to bring the nation back to God the Almighty.

The situations of things

Antonio_Balestra_Prophet Isaiah
Antonio_Balestra_Prophet Isaiah

Prophet Isaiah prophesied from 739–681 BC to a nation that had turned deaf ears to the Lord. Instead of serving God with humility and offering love to their neighbors, the nation of Israel offered meaningless sacrifices in God’s temple at Jerusalem and committed injustices and unrighteousness throughout the land. The people of Judah turned their backs on the Lord, departed and alienated themselves from Him. This brought about the need for Prophet Isaiah’s pronouncements of judgment on the people; in the hope that God’s chosen people would return to Him in repentance.

The importance of the book of Isaiah

The entire book of Isaiah furnishes us with the most comprehensive prophetic image of Jesus Christ in the entire Old Testament. This includes the full objective, scope, and mission of His life:

  • The announcement of His coming as recorded in the book of Isaiah 40:3–5,
  • His miraculous Birth by The virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14),
  • His open proclamation of the good news (Isaiah. 61:1),
  • His sacrificial death (Isaiah. 52:13–53:12), and of course
  • His imminent return to claim His Children (His chosen people) (Isaiah 60:2–3).

As a result of these and numerous other Christological texts in the book of Isaiah, it stands as a testament of hope in the Lord, the one who comes and rescues His people from themselves.

Salvation – the major theme of the book of Isaiah

The book of Isaiah’s overall theme is clearly stated in chapter 12: “Behold, God is my salvation, / I will trust and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2). This resonates with the meaning of Prophet Isaiah’s name, which means the “salvation of Yahweh.”

Though one could wonder about the strong presence and repetition of judgment throughout the first thirty-nine (39) chapters of the book when the major theme should be salvation.

Here is the explanation:

The presence of judgment points to and emphasizes the necessity for salvation to occur. Before we can lay hold of salvation, we should and must have an unquenchable hunger for it!

So the chunk of those early chapters in the book of Isaiah emphasized judgments against the people who have turned their backs on the Almighty God, showing that those who persistently rebel against God will receive judgment.

However, we also see God’s faithfulness concerning his promises. He will keep a small remnant of faithful believers, those who will continue on into the glorious renewed world He has kept for His faithful children in the end. Read Isaiah 65:17; 66:24.

A Brief Outline of the Book Of Isaiah

The following breakdown of the contents of the book of Isaiah will enable one get a quick overview and insight into how the different parts relate.

1. The Book Of Judgment (Isaiah 1:1—35:10)

2. The Message of Rebuke and Promise (Isaiah 1:1—6:13)

3. Israel’s ungrateful rebellion and the LORD’s gracious invitation (Isaiah.1:1-31).

4. Israel’s prospect of glory through Messiah after the chastening for sin that will make them holy (Isaiah 2:1—4:6).

5. Israel’s swift and complete judgment in exile (Isaiah 5:1-30).

  • Isaiah’s cleansing of ungodliness, unholiness and calling to the ministry to the unholy nation that faces desolation (Isaiah 6:1-13).
  • The Message of Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:1—12:6)
  • The sign of the birth of Immanuel and the judgment to come by Assyria (Isaiah 7:1-25).
  • The judgment on the nation and the deliverance by the birth and reign of the Son (Isaiah 8:1—9:7).
  • The doom of Samaria for its perversion of justice (Isaiah 9:8—10:4).
  • The destruction of the pride of Assyria to Israel’s satisfaction and the ushering in of Messiah’s great kingdom of peace through the Branch of the root of Jesse (Isaiah 10:5—12:6).
  • The Burden upon the Nations (Isaiah 13:l—23:18)
  • Babylon will be made desolate (Isaiah 13:l—14:27).
  • Philistia will howl over its calamity (Isaiah 14:28-32).
  • Moab is lamented for her doom (Isaiah 15:l—16:14).
  • Damascus and Samaria will be plagued (Isaiah 17:1-14).
  • Ethiopia will be destroyed but left an access to God (Isaiah 18:1-7).
  • Egypt will be confounded but in the future will be part of the covenant with access (Isaiah 19:1—20:6).
  • Babylon’s fall is reiterated (Isaiah 21:1-10).
  • Edom is threatened (Isaiah 21:11,12).
  • Arabia has a set time for calamity (Isaiah 21:13-17).
  • Jerusalem will be invaded (Isaiah 22:1-25).
  • A tyre will be overthrown (Isaiah 23:1-18).
  • The Message of Judgment and Promise, the “Little Apocalypse” (Isaiah 24:1—27:13)

Listen the beginning  (Chapter 1) of The Book of Isaiah from KJV.

 


Summary of the book of Isaiah

The Holy book of Isaiah can be described as a Narrative History, Prophetic Oracle, or and even a Parable (Isaiah.5). This book was written by prophet Isaiah at approximately 700 B.C. while Chapters 40-66, was written later in his life approximately 681 B.C. The book of Isaiah is the first book in the section called Major Prophets. They are referred to Major Prophets because of the enormous amount of messages they wrote not primarily because their message was more important than any other prophets. Prophet Isaiah had two sons namely Shearjashub and Maher-shalal-jash-baz.

mesiahThe Holy book of Isaiah contains some of the most eye-opening prophecies of history. It contains foreknowledge, incredible details about the Messiah and his coming, and the future reign of Jesus Christ.

One of the major purposes of the book of Isaiah was to bring back God’s nation, the nation of Judah, to faithfulness and to declare the coming of the Messiah “Immanuel”. God calls and empowers His prophet to declare to Judah and Israel condemnation, conviction, and ultimately great hope.

Summarized details by chapters

1. In Chapters 1-39, Prophet Isaiah points out the sins of both the North and South Kingdoms. He then pronounces severe punishment to them and all the neighboring nations around them, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight Cease to do evil” (1:16).

He also went ahead to proclaims the great hope of the coming Savior, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14),

NOTE: This passage was fulfilled in the New Testament; In the book of Matthew 1:22-24.

2. In Chapters 40-55, prophet Isaiah speaks of the imminent return and restoration of Israel after the exile from Babylon. The book of Isaiah repeatedly claims the premise, “There is no God beside Me” (Isaiah  44:6,8; 45:5,6,14,18,21).

There is also another foretelling of the coming Messiah, who will bring new life through His death, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth” (Isaiah. 53:7).

3. In chapters 56-66, prophet Isaiah writes about the new Heavens and Earth, as the great reward for all those who trust and obey God. He also proclaims the hope for the afflicted and judgment for the wicked. “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered” (Isaiah 65:17).

 


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